“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Alexander McCall Smith will Pick the Winner of the INTERNATIONAL £1000 Scottish arts club short story competition

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Anyone familiar with Alexander McCall Smith’s work will know that the historic Scottish Arts Club, situated in Rutland Square, often features in his popular 44 Scotland Street novels.  McCall Smith has been the chief judge of the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition since its inception in 2014. 

A team of dedicated readers assists the selection process with Alexander McCall Smith making the final selection of the winner and the runners-up. 

The competition is managed by the Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust. All proceeds are used to support the arts in Scotland.

  Alexander McCall Smith presents Sandra Ireland with the 2014 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Award for her brilliant story, The Desperation Game

Alexander McCall Smith presents Sandra Ireland with the 2014 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Award for her brilliant story, The Desperation Game

  Iain MacDonald (centre) 2017 winners, with Charles Scott, Chair of the Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust and Sara Cameron McBean, Scottish Arts Club Short Story Director.

Iain MacDonald (centre) 2017 winners, with Charles Scott, Chair of the Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust and Sara Cameron McBean, Scottish Arts Club Short Story Director.

  The 2017 finalists: from left Kendal Delany, Iain MacDonald, Susan Gray, Jonathon Lee, Michael Gallagher, Peter Mallett and Andrew Preskey.

The 2017 finalists: from left Kendal Delany, Iain MacDonald, Susan Gray, Jonathon Lee, Michael Gallagher, Peter Mallett and Andrew Preskey.

New rules

While we are thrilled that our first winner of the Isobel Lodge Award also won the main competition in 2017, we have changed the rules from 2018 so that these prizes are guaranteed to go to different writers...just to spread the joy wider!

INCREASED PRIZE MONEY AND A NEW INTERNATIONAL FLASH FICTION AWARD

The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition is open to writers worldwide, published and unpublished, aged over 18 years by 1 October 2018. Entries close on 31 March 2018.

The first prize is £1000 plus two runner-up awards of £100 each. The Scottish Arts Club will present one year free membership to these awardees (see The Rules).

The stories of all seven finalists will be published in our first anthology, and these writers will be offered space on our website to promote their work 

Stories must  not be more than 1,500 words and should not show the authors name on any of the story pages. Stories can be on any topic and do not have to be associated with Scotland.  

Please note: you do not have to be Scottish to enter the main competition with the £1000 prize.  Enter the international short story competition.

The Isobel Lodge Award is a special additional £500 award within the international competition. Applicants must be published and born, living or studying in Scotland. Learn more about the Isobel Lodge Award

NEW in 2018 we are launching the Edinburgh Flash Fiction Award for stories of 250 words, with a £500 prize. Author Sandra Ireland is the chief judge for the flash fiction competition. She is an award winning poet and accomplished author of 'Beneath the Skin' and the soon to be released 'Bone Deep' as well as the first winner of the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition. Entries are open from 1 February to 30 April 2018. This is also open to writers worldwide. You do not have to be Scottish to enter and the stories can be on any topic. Enter the Flash Fiction Competition.

IN 2017, UNPUBLISHED WRITER, IAIN MACDONALD, SCOOPs the 2017 award

Edinburgh 15 October 2017 Unpublished author and drama teacher Iain MacDonald won the Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition, announced on Saturday 14 October. The thirty-one year old, who says he had never shown his work to anyone before except his partner, won the inaugural £500 Isobel Lodge Award for New Scottish Writing as well as the international £800 Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition, for his story, 'The Gannet'.*  Originally from Thurso, he currently teaches at Linlithgow Academy just outside Edinburgh. 

Celebrated author and chair of the Scottish Arts Club short story judging panel, Alexander McCall Smith chose 'The Gannet' as his favourite among all the finalists, calling it 'atmospheric' and praising the 'clarity and the economy of the prose.'

The international short story competition attracted over 400 entries from 20 countries, including more than 270 entries from writers in Scotland and 230 who qualified for the Isobel Lodge Award as unpublished writers born, living or studying in Scotland. At the awards dinner, Short Story Director Sara Cameron McBean said, 'We always knew there was a possibility that an unpublished writer could win both of the awards but we did not anticipate this happening in the first year of the Isobel Lodge Award, or that this new award would capture the imaginations of so many excellent undiscovered writers in Scotland.' She added, 'Iain's win speaks loudly to all those writers in Scotland who have been hiding their work in a secret drawer. It is time to take the chance and share your work because who knows what can happen.'

Another unpublished writer, Stirling teacher Kendal Delany, won a £100 commendation for her story, 'Kept from the sea.'   A commendation was also won by university professor Peter Mallett who wrote Immortal Memory. Peter works in Kobe, Japan and flew in especially for the awards dinner, held at the Scottish Arts Club in Edinburgh. Other finalists included Jonathon Lee, who flew in from the USA for the evening,  Andrew Preskey from the Isle of Wight, Michael Gallagher from Glasgow and Susan Gray from Jedburgh. 

The Scottish Arts Club Members Prize was won by Tom Gordon for his compelling short story, 'Your life in their hands.'

See photographs from our awards events since 2014

Read 2017 winning and finalists stories at www.sacctrust.org/story

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